In our last Watershed Landscape post, we learned about Green Infrastructure as an ecological planning and design approach to building, developing and restoring our communities using natural and built systems that mimic nature. Low Impact Development (LID) is a part of Green Infrastructure, using smart stormwater design for new development or retrofits. LID applications can include phosphorous removal structures, pervious paving, tree wells, vegetated walls and green roofs, rain water harvesting, and rain gardens/bioswales.

As a watershed organization, we promote voluntary Best Management Practices that help to improve and protect our watershed and waterways. We hope that you will learn and understand more about each one of these practices and encourage you to take our challenge to install at least one (or all!!) of these features.


Phosphorous Removal Field Day

IRWP and OSU Extension provided a field day on May 23, 2014 for land-owners, agencies and businesses to learn more about a Phosphorous Removal Structure installed at a local poultry operation.

Photo Credit: Illinois River Watershed Partnership


Phosphorus is an important nutrient for healthy plant growth. However, excess phosphorus in surface water can result in algae growth, causing eutrophication and overall poor water quality.  Sources of excess phosphorus to aquatic ecosystems include both point and non-point source runoff from agriculture, horticulture, urban and suburban landscapes.

A relatively new process, called a Phosphorus Removal Structure, has been devised by researchers to provide a landscape “filter” that can remove dissolved phosphorus in runoff before it reaches streams and lakes.  Many industrial by-products that are typically land-filled, including materials produced during drinking water treatment, power generation, and steel production have a beneficial re-use in improving surface water quality by attracting and binding or absorbing phosphorus from passing water.


Phosphorous Removal Structure

How it works- a Phosphorous Removal Structure application at a golf course.

Photo Credit: Oklahoma State University

The USDA Natural Resources Conservation Services (NRCS) awarded a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and Oklahoma State University to work together to install and monitor a Phosphorous Removal Structure in the Illinois River Watershed. The goal is to reduce phosphorous by 50% by identifying the “hotspot” or area where phosphorous is concentrated most on a property.


To learn more about P-Removal Structures, visit:

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service

OSU Extension Blog

YouTube video


This is a series of posts that will explore some of the Best Management Practices (BMPs) of Green Infrastructure and LID for both urban and rural applications. The IRWP is currently working with our local cities, counties and organizations to implement green infrastructure and LID elements within the Illinois River Watershed. Watch for these demonstration projects in public spaces to see first-hand stormwater management in action!

The Illinois River Watershed Partnership works to improve and restore the Illinois River Watershed through public education, water quality monitoring, and conservation/restoration projects. Check out our website for current events that continue to educate stakeholders of the Illinois River Watershed about Green Infrastructure and Low Impact Development, as well as events that offer volunteer opportunities to make a positive difference!


Related Posts:

Green Infrastructure & Low Impact Development: Providing Watershed Resiliency for More Sustainable Communities

Water Proof: Controlling Phosphorus Levels Through Best Management Practices

Water Proof: Water Quality Studies in the Illinois River Watershed